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Lions announce Matt Patricia as franchise's next head coach

Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Football

On offense, Patricia is expected to retain Jim Bob Cooter as coordinator, something quarterback Matthew Stafford spoke in favor of after the season, and several other members of the offensive staff.

Patricia, before a 2014 game against the Lions, praised Stafford as the engine that makes the Lions' offense go.

"I think the quarterback, it starts with him," Patricia said at the time. "He's a very athletic guy, he's got a strong arm, so he can do a lot of things from the quarterback position as far as moving around in the pocket or getting outside the pocket, along with dropping back, being able to read the defense and then get the ball to the appropriate receivers. I think he's doing an excellent job of distributing the ball around and getting it to the guys that he needs to get it to."

Quinn said last month his goal in firing Caldwell and embarking on a search for a new coach was "to hire the best coach to help us win a championship."

At the time, he said he had no preference on the hire's background or experience level, but that he wanted someone who was a good leader, who excelled at situational football and who was able to adapt and adjust his scheme to personnel.

"When we launched the search for our next head coach, I wanted to find a leader that could take us to the next level and I am confident we have found that in Matt Patricia," Qunn said Monday in a statement released by the team. "He has been preparing for this opportunity his entire career, and he's ready for the responsibility and its challenges.

"Matt is driven to succeed, has extreme passion for the game and excels in preparation. He embodies the same hard-working, blue-collar attributes that represent our organization and the great city of Detroit."

The Lions interviewed five candidates in addition to Patricia: Cooter and Teryl Austin, the Lions' defensive coordinator the past four seasons who has since taken the same job with the Cincinnati Bengals; Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, who was hired as New York Giants coach; Green Bay Packers associate head coach Winston Moss; and Houston Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel, the runner-up to Patricia in Detroit and now the head coach of the Tennessee Titans.

"More than the other Belichick guys, I think that Patricia is and will be very authentic," said Ross Tucker, a former offensive lineman who played for the Patriots in 2005-06. "Like, I don't think he'll act like he's Belichick. I don't think he'll try to be Belichick, I think he'll just be him."

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The Lions already have started interviewing potential assistants for Patricia's staff, and Patricia has informed several of last year's coaches they will not return.

Boston College defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni, who gave Patricia his first job at Syracuse, is expected to take a job on the Lions' defensive staff, and Jeff Davidson, who worked with Patricia in 2004 with the Patriots, is the favorite to become offensive line coach.

The Lions are expected to introduce Patricia as their new head coach in a news conference Wednesday.

"I've been incredibly fortunate to work with (a coach in Belichick) who I believe is the greatest coach in NFL history," Patricia said in his statement. "Now I turn all of my attention to the Lions. I look forward to the next chapter of my career in Detroit."

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